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Environmental Trends in Microbrewing (Craft Beer)

Technological Trends

The Micro Brewing and beer brewing industry has turned into a high technology industry and there are a number of factors that impact the industry.

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Beer Spoiling Bacteria

Breweries across the world and across all types of beers are faced with the repetitive problem that beer can get spoilt an go bad. Breweries have kept batches of brewed beer for more than 3 months and see if the beer goes bad. If after three months nothing bad is observed, then the beer cases are shipped.

This creates excess inventory and increases storage and overheads. Beer going bad happens due to contamination by some bacteria and if these bacteria are present in a batch of beer, then the batch would get spoilt. Tests are now available that allows breweries to find out in a couple of days if the beer would go bad. This kind of testing and testing equipment helps to reduce losses, reduce product recalls and BB needs to use the methods for brewing (Haakensen, November 2008).

Yeast genetics in brewing

According to Bamforth (2006), yeast genetics plays a very important role in the brewing industry and there are reports of increased use of genetically modified yeast and hops in the brewing process. The use of such materials is expected to increase the flavour of beer, bring more consistency since the chance factor is reduced. Genetically modified yeast have better predictive properties and it is possible to obtain the exact quality of beer. The number of iterations for rejections in batches is also reduced.

Use of Water Recycling Methods

Bamforth (2006) reports that there is an increased awareness and need to conserve ground water that is used in breweries. Water is the major constituent of beer and communities and towns where breweries are situated start objecting when large quantities of water are drawn up from bore wells or lakes. Breweries have invested in systems for conserving water and in setting up water recycling units where the charged water is filtered and reused again.

Increased Carbon Foot Print

Beverages, particularly beer and carbonated drinks such as coca cola have been increasingly criticised for the huge amount of carbon foot print they create. These are not essential food items hence the argument is that the large consumption of water, food grains, hops, barley, yeast, fuel and other items are not justified. According to a report by the climate conservancy organisation, about 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide are produced from a 6 pack of beer. All the different phases of the life cycle such as grain and hop growing and production, brewing process, bottling operations, waste and distribution management are considered. The impact is somewhat reduced when reusable containers are used in the transportation of draft beer (The Climate Conservancy, 2009).

Beer Fermentation

According to Bamforth (2006), beer fermentation has undergone a change and it is possible to have good control over the process by using computer simulated models. The controls systems for beer fermentation vats are controlled by sensors that connected to sophisticated computers. In some cases, it is possible to enhance the fermentation process to reduce the cycle time required for fermentation. Other advances that are available include Diacetyl reduction, warm and cold stabilization, recycling of kieselguhr, Single-pass membrane filtration and other processes. These technological advances help to reduce variation of beer from one batch to another and thus ensure that all the beer of the specific variety would taste the same.

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Demographic Trends

In US, the beer industry is worth 82.4 billion USD and has a market share of 86.1% of the volume of sales. Beer consumers in the 21 to 34 years age category are seen to move to spirits with mixed type of cocktails. There is also a tendency to drink more and more of wine. The people from these age groups consume about 20% of the beer. The category of premium brand beers is known to enter the share occupied by economy lager.

The craft beer brewers are facing problems with the US beer distribution system and this system acts as a barrier for the beer industry. There is also a move to introduce different sizes of packs such as four and 12 packs along with mixed styles and larger capacity styles to encourage more drinking. Beer is regarded as a drink for the hot season or when the weather is warm. Hence, beer is consumed more heavily during the summer months than in cold and winter months. This factor gives beer industry a window of a few months only (USDA, 2005).

Beer drinking as a culture seems to be on the decline with more and more baby boomers of the 1960s heading for retirement. Beer is also known to cause ‘beer belly’ bad breath and younger people prefer to drink less and less of beer and beer is losing its popularity as a drink. People prefer to drink alcoholic beverages or drinks with lower carbohydrates. Many beer manufacturers have realised this and started to manufacture special varieties of ‘light’ beers (Spurry, 2008).

Spurry who has researched the market of beer consumption comments that whole the overall beer consumption rate has declined over the years, the consumption of craft beers has doubled in the last four years. The author reports that there is a rise of 8.1 percent people in the age group of 30 to 39 and these people are the main consumers of craft beer. By further inference, the author points out that as this age group starts growing older, then there would be a reduction in the consumption of craft beer. However, it is also possible new drinkers who reach this age would again fill the void created by the ageing group (Brewhaus. 2008).

The National Beer Wholesalers Association reports that consumption of small volumes of beer occasionally is good for a person’s health. The reports from the group claims that more than 100 studies have been performed to show that small to moderate amounts of beer and alcohol would have a beneficial effect of reducing heart diseases rates. The report further goes to show that a study involving 300 people suffering from heart diseases showed that while all types of alcohol would serve to lower the heart disease risk, people who consumed more and more of beer were found to be suffering much lesser because of the antioxidant properties of beer (NBWA, 2007).

Advertising for beer is on the rise however this has not lead to increase in the overall demand for beer or increased beer consumption. It has been observed that brewers advertise aggressively not to increase the demand of beer but to ensure that their own product would have a better brand recall over other brands (Beer Institute, 2007).

References

Bamforth C. 2006. Brewing: New technologies. Woodhead: CPL Scientific Publishing Services Limited.

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Beer Institute, 2007. Beer Advertising Facts: How it affects consumers and American society. Web.

Brewhaus. 2008. Beverage Consumption Trends and Sales. Web.

The Climate Conservancy, 2009. The Carbon Footprint of Fat Tire Amber Ale. Web.

Haakensen Monique. 2008. Saving beer from bacterial contamination. University of Saskatchewan. Web.

Spurry Steve. 2008. Demographic Influence on the U.S. Demand for Beer: Mary Washington College. Web.

NBWA, 2007. Cheers To Good Health: Who Knew That Brew May Be Good for You? Web.

USDA, 2005. Snapshot U.S. Domestic Market & Export Trends Craft Beer. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 3). Environmental Trends in Microbrewing (Craft Beer). Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/environmental-trends-in-microbrewing-craft-beer/

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StudyCorgi. "Environmental Trends in Microbrewing (Craft Beer)." November 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/environmental-trends-in-microbrewing-craft-beer/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Environmental Trends in Microbrewing (Craft Beer)." November 3, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/environmental-trends-in-microbrewing-craft-beer/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Environmental Trends in Microbrewing (Craft Beer)'. 3 November.

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